China is "investing massively in science and technology," [Alain Beaudet] says. "I just got back from my third trip to China and every time, there are new research centres that have sprung up like mushrooms. It's amazing. They're tremendously effective at bringing the diaspora back and attracting graduate students. They're bringing back full professors from the best universities in the States and they give them, basically, research institutes."In its efforts to elevate the nation's scientific enterprise, China's investment in research (an average annual increase of 18% between 1995 and 2006) includes a strategy to increase collaboration with top Western scientists, Beaudet adds. For example, he cites recent negotiations on expanding an existing $300 000, three-year agreement with the Natural Sciences Foundation of China, which now funds 20 projects across the spectrum of biomedical research. "And they don't want to just fund more people. They want to fund them at a higher level, so that they'll attract even better scientists, which I think is telling."[Massey Beveridge] says Canadians also have to avoid the tendency to assume that their approach is the right one. "It's an exchange of information," he says. "Not just going there and telling them: 'Well, this is how you do it'."
CMAJ News Boom in Canada–China research collaborations Published at www.cmaj.ca on Nov.18 I n the winter of 1938, Dr. Henry Norman Bethune left Canada and arrived in China’s Shanxi province during the Second Sino–Japanese War. Virtually unknown in his home coun- try, he worked with Mao Zedong’s Communist Party performing emer- gency battlefield surgeries, set up blood transfusion stations and created a training program for doctors, nurses and orderlies. Most knew Bethune by his Chinese © 2009 Jupiterimages Corp. name, Bai Qiu En, a man who became a national hero after dying in 1939 of blood poisoning. Mao Zedong was so inspired by Bethune’s acts that he wrote an essay, “In Memory of Norman Bethune,” that, years later, children still memorize and recite. A medical school Thousands of Canadian medical professionals and researchers have travelled to China and a hospital were nammed in to work on a variety of research projects and exchanges. Bethune’s memory. Thousands of Canadian medical professionals and researchers have fol- returned 17 years later to help set up a ment in research (an average annual lowed in Bethune’s footsteps, travelling collaborative program between the Rui increase of 18% between 1995 and to China to work on a variety of Jin Hospital Burn Unit and the Ross 2006) includes a strategy to increase research projects and exchanges. Tilley Burn Centre in Toronto. collaboration with top Western scien- It’s a practice that is booming, and As China continues to evolve into tists, Beaudet adds. For example, he almost weekly, it seems, there are one of the world’s major scientific cites recent negotiations on expanding announcements from Canadian govern- players, such projects will only con- an existing $300 000, three-year agree- ments or universities about new collab- tinue to multiply, predicts Dr. Alain ment with the Natural Sciences Foun- orative projects with China. Beaudet, president of the Canadian dation of China, which now funds 20 “There is tremendous opportunity Institutes of Health Research, which projects across the spectrum of biomed- for research between Canada and has inked four separate research agree- ical research. “And they don’t want to China,” says Dr. Massey Beveridge, ments with the government of China just fund more people. They want to who founded the Office of International and plans to significantly expand that fund them at a higher level, so that Surgery at the University of Toronto in portfolio in the future. they’ll attract even better scientists, Ontario and now practises in northern China is “investing massively in sci- which I think is telling.” Newfoundland.
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